Tag Archives: roast turkey

Autumn-themed Thanksgiving Tablesetting

Thanksgiving has a way of creeping up on me before I am ready for it!  The fall is such a busy season for me and there is always lots to do.

This year, I cooked the full turkey dinner. It’s a lot of work but nothing beats a home-cooked turkey dinner and the best part…..there are leftovers!

Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey

The color theme for my tablesetting was orange. The table linen is a soft white which really allows the charger plates and other elements of this tablesetting to stand out.

Thanksgiving Tablesetting
Thanksgiving Tablesetting

I found these lovely burnt orange charger plates with a leaf motif on them. I will use these right through the autumn season, not just for Thanksgiving dinner.

Charger Plates
Fall-themed Charger Plates

I have had the leaf-designed napkin rings for awhile and the pumpkin-themed napkins pair well with them.

Pumpkin-themed Napkins
Pumpkin-themed Napkins

The centerpiece is really nothing more than herbs from our garden and some leaves picked from nearby ditches. My mother has some bayberry bushes on her property so bay leaves form the base of the centerpiece. I also added some oregano and sage which both smell wonderful and then some bright yellow frothy dill for pops of color.  The centerpiece cost me nothing and only took very few minutes to pull together.

Nature's Centerpiece
Nature’s Centerpiece

I have added in some little votives wrapped in birch bark to keep the natural look flowing.

Votives
Candlelight

Some small pumpkin-shaped gourds tucked in around the centerpiece give an authentic Thanksgiving look to the table.

Autumnal Colors
Autumnal Colors
The Thanksgiving Tablesetting
The Thanksgiving Tablesetting

I tend to use a lot of heavier cut glass in autumn – the candlelight picks up the cuts in the glass and makes them quite enchanting.

Glassware
Glassware

The placesetting is quite simple.  I was setting a rather small table and, with the centerpiece, there was no extra room on the table. I wasn’t serving either a salad or soup course so there was no need for extra cutlery.  The dessert fork and spoon were brought to the table when the dinner plates were cleared and dessert served. If there is room, I often include them at the top of the plates but this setting didn’t permit the space.

Place Setting
Place Setting
Candlelight
Candlelight

I like to present the turkey, dressed, on a large platter.  Sometimes, I use it as the table centerpiece and, other times, I have it placed on a sideboard in the dining room.

The Thanksgiving Turkey
The Thanksgiving Turkey

To “dress” this turkey for dinner, I have opted to go with a seasonal red-green-yellow theme, choosing corn on the cob, cranberries, and  rosemary and bay leaves along with some whole chestnuts.

Turkey Styling
Turkey Styling
Turkey Dressed in Style for Dinner!
Turkey Dressed in Style for Dinner!

I mixed some finely chopped fresh herbs with melted butter and basted the turkey with this mixture – I like the black-specks on the turkey! I think it gives the bird some character!

Herb-Basted Roast Turkey
Herb-Basted Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey Dinner
Roast Turkey Dinner

It is not necessary, of course, to “dress” the turkey for table presentation.  The turkey can, instead, be carved in the kitchen out of sight of the guests and brought to the table.  I always like to see it nicely carved and presented on a meat platter.

Carved Turkey
Carved Turkey

Make the platter look more attractive by inserting a few fresh herbs, here and there, to fill in any open spaces and to give definition to the platter.

Plated Carved Turkey
Plated Carved Turkey

To view other Thanksgiving tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the following links:

Thanksgiving Tablescape
Thanksgiving Tablesetting
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Tablesetting

Bread Stuffing/Dressing Recipe for Roast Turkey/Chicken

There is nothing like the scent of a turkey roasting in the oven!  I love a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings and I especially love the bread stuffing or, you may know it as  “dressing”. The theory is that, if it goes inside the turkey cavity, it’s called “stuffing” but, if it is cooked separately (as in a casserole or loaf pan), then it’s called “dressing”.   Regardless what it’s called, it just would not be a roast turkey dinner without this wonderful savory side dish.

Roast Turkey Dinner
Roast Turkey Dinner with Bread Stuffing

There are many ways to make the turkey stuffing and many different ingredients and seasonings that can be used.  Here on PEI, the most common seasoning is summer savory. In fact, this is a herb I grow in my garden. My grandmother always grew this herb, dried it, and hand-crushed it for use in stuffing/dressing throughout the year. Old traditions prevail!

Some folks make a stuffing that is quite dry and crumbly while others, like myself, make a version that is more moist.  Some use bread cubes while others use either coarse or fine bread crumbs. I save up the crusts from bread, store them in my freezer, and then, when I have lots, I use my food processor to process a bag of fine bread crumbs that I keep in the freezer to have at the ready to make stuffing at any time. It’s a big time saver, particularly if you frequently prepare roast chicken or turkey dinners. The bread crumbs can be all one kind or a mixture of different breads – white and whole wheat or multi-grain, for example.  In fact, the last stuffing/dressing I made, I used gluten-free bread crumbs.

Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Roast Turkey with Stuffing

I know some frown on placing the stuffing inside the turkey but I always do because it gives the turkey such lovely flavour as it roasts.  It takes a little longer for the turkey to cook but I find it is so worth it.

Roast Turkey Dinner with Dressing
Roast Turkey Dinner with Dressing

Alternatively, the stuffing (er, dressing, in this case) can always be baked in a casserole or a loaf pan.  I like to use a loaf pan if I am wanting nice slices of the dressing for a turkey platter for, say, a buffet.  It looks neat and attractive and the dressing is easily picked up with a  serving fork.

Roast Turkey and Dressing
Roast Turkey and Dressing

It’s important that the mashed potatoes be warm, not cold, when making the stuffing.  You want to capture and retain the moisture from the potatoes for the stuffing and it is much easier to mix warm potatoes than cold.  How many bread crumbs needed will depend, in large part, on how wet the potatoes are.  Some potato varieties are quite dry when cooked so won’t need as many bread crumbs as will  potatoes that cook up wet.  Start with a couple of cups of soft fine bread crumbs and, if more are needed to reach the desired consistency, add the crumbs a tablespoon or two at a time. Now, by “fine” bread crumbs, I don’t mean fine as salt like the ones you would probably find on a grocery store shelf or at a bulk food store and which would be used to bread chicken or fish.  For use in stuffing, the crumbs need to have a little coarseness and bulk to them.

Texture of Bread Crumbs for Stuffing/Dressing
Texture of Bread Crumbs for Stuffing/Dressing

I add a bit of celery and onion for added flavour and some chopped apple to give the stuffing/dressing a bit of sweetness.  I also use a small amount of liquid chicken bouillon concentrate as this really enhances the flavour but does not add unnecessary liquid to the mixture.

It’s important not to pack the stuffing tightly into the turkey – just loosely fit it in. I find using a piece of greased tin foil to make a “cradle” with sides inside the cavity for the stuffing to lay on makes it easy to remove the stuffing once the turkey comes out of the oven. Grab hold of the ends of the tin foil and, with a gentle pull, out will come the stuffing intact. This allows the turkey to flavour the stuffing and vice versa but makes it easier to remove the stuffing rather than having to massacre it with a spoon in the process of trying to remove the stuffing.

(Printable recipe follows at end of posting)

Bread Stuffing for Chicken/Turkey

Ingredients:

2 cups warm mashed potatoes (apx. 1 1/8 lb, uncooked)

2 cups soft fine bread crumbs (apx.)

2 tbsp finely chopped onion

1½ tsp summer savory

2 tbsp finely chopped celery

2 tbsp finely chopped apple

1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon

2 tbsp melted butter

1½ tbsp water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
Mix all ingredients together and loosely fill the body cavity of the  turkey or chicken with the stuffing. Roast turkey/chicken according to package directions.

Alternatively, lightly press mixture into greased loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake in 350F oven for 20 minutes then remove tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on top.

Yield: Enough to stuff apx. 12-15 lb turkey

Bread Stuffing for Roast Turkey

Yield: Enough to stuff apx. 12-15 lb turkey

Classic tasty stuffing for turkey or chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm mashed potatoes (apx. 1 1/8 lb, uncooked)
  • 2 cups soft fine bread crumbs (apx.)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1½ tsp summer savory
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped apple
  • 1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1½ tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and loosely fill the body cavity of turkey or chicken with the stuffing. Roast turkey/chicken according to package directions.
  2. Alternatively, lightly press mixture into greased loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake in 350F oven for 20 minutes then remove tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on top.
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Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Roast Turkey with Stuffing